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Calliope's Odyssey "If you smile at me, I will understand, 'cause that is something everybody, everywhere does in the same language." -CSNY

Going home...

USA | Thursday, 28 June 2007 | Views [1035]

Iglesia San Agustino in Cuenca.

Iglesia San Agustino in Cuenca.

Time's up! Tomorrow I head back to the US of A and my love affair with South America will have to take a hiatus (though hopefully not a very long one).

Although I'm sad that my year studying abroad has come to an end, I think I'm ready to go home. I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends, summer, smog-free air, eating brats, and drinking beer on the union terrace.

Now I'll try to answer the question on everyone's mind: what did I like better, Ecuador or Chile?

Tonight I was actually pondering this question as I walked down Providencia. You know, Chile really made up lost ground in the last month or so. Don't get me wrong; I absolutely loved Chile. I just have a strong bias towards Ecuador since my time there really couldn't have been more perfect.

I went to the botellería (liquor store) to buy a goodbye present for Tía Inés. I chose a bottle of Misiones de Rengo Carmenere. She always teases me and calls me "la gótica" (gothic) because supposedly my mouth is always stained purple from drinking red wine. I thought it was a fitting gift.

Anyway, I realized that the owner of the liquor store was watching the Ecuador vs. Chile soccer game. What a crazy coincidence, right?

I almost screamed ¡VIVA ECUADOR! in the middle of the store. En serio. 

I smiled to myself and the owner asked me if I liked fútbol. I responded "me gusta Ecuador" and explained that I lived there for five months. He asked me how long I had been in Chile. Four months. He waved me away and told me to give it another month.

I just looked to see the outcome on ESPN's website. I guess Chile won, 3 to 2.

Ok, now for the other question that I'm sure everyone will ask me when I get back: have I changed as a person this year?

Obvio. But I don't want to get into the clichés of how study abroad has changed my life.

One thing that has surprised me is that my interest in traveling in my country has grown, along with my interest in American culture. Before coming to South America, I had the somewhat immature mentality that there was nothing to see in the US. However, recently I realized that I had seen more of Ecuador and Chile than I had seen in my own country, which is a shame.  Although there are many things that I dislike about American culture, it still fascinates me, just as South American culture does.

Next on my agenda: the great American roadtrip.

What will I miss?

La vida tranquila, empanadas, my crazy Panamanian house, sacraficing my pride for good coffee at Chilean Starbucks, pisco sours, Liguria, ¿cachai?...the list could go on forever. 

Oh, and speaking Spanglish!  And even better than Spanglish, combining Ecuadorian and Chilean slang to confuse my Spanish speaking friends.  Here's an example.  Chileans add the word "po" to the end of everything (i.e. "sí po").  It means absolutely nothing.  Ecuadorians do the same with "ffff", which also has no significance.  So being the slang-savy Spanish speaker that I am, I say "sí poffff".  Everyone thinks I'm crazy.

Any regrets?

Not starting an online travel journal sooner.

Thanks for reading Calliope's Odyssey! I assure you that it will be resumed at a later date, hopefully not too far into the future.

¡Qué te vaya súper bien pofff!

Tags: Philosophy of travel

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